Frequently Asked Questions

Prepared for you by current Geneseo students! 

Residence Halls (Dormitories) 

What are the on-campus accommodations (residence halls) like?

There are approximately 17  residence hall buildings on campus. The academic buildings are centrally located on campus and are a short walking distance from each of the residence halls.  Every international student at Geneseo is guaranteed on-campus housing all four years of study. Most international students will reside in Dante House (Wayne Hall), Wyoming Hall, or Steuben Hall for the first year. After the first year, students will be able to select from all residence halls.

How big are the rooms?

Rooms are typically 2.7 meters by 3.6 meters in suite-style buildings and about 3.6 meters by 4.8 meters in corridor-style buildings.  Typically two people share a room.  In a corridor style hall the rooms open into a long hallway (like a hotel). The women living in a particular section of a corridor have a bathroom which they share with one another. The men living in a particular section of a corridor also have a bathroom that they share with one another.  In a suite style hall, bedrooms open into a common living area that is shared by five to eight student of the same gender.  Those same students share one bathroom located within the suite. A suite is a self-contained unit with bedrooms, a common living area, and a bathroom for only the people in that suite.  More information about the residence halls.

When can I move into my residence hall?

New international students are allowed to move into their residence halls usually beginning the Monday before the first day of school.  Check our International Student Orientation page for all of the current dates.  Staff from the ISSS office will be available to pick you up from the Rochester airport, train or bus station, and help you move into your room.

What type of furniture and equipment is already in the room?

Typically a room is furnished with 2 beds, 2 dressers, 2 desks/chairs, 2 nightstands, 1 lamp, 2 closets, 2 Internet connections, and cable television access.

Are there laundry and kitchen facilities in the residence halls?

Yes. Some halls have both facilities on each floor; others have them only on the lowest floor.  The kitchen facilities (including a stove) are provided in addition to the many dining halls on campus in case you would like to cook a meal for yourself. Laundry machines do not require coins or money to operate them—that cost is already included in your housing fees.  

When will I know who my roommate is?

The office of Residence Life will assign roommates sometime in December for spring semester, and late July for fall semester. When the assignments are complete, Residence Life staff will email your building, room number, and roommate’s name and contact information to your Geneseo email address. 

What support services are available in the residence halls?

Each residence hall has a professional staff that is hired to help students solve problems and enjoy living in the residence hall. The staff includes an Area Coordinator (AC), several “Resident Assistants” (RA’s), and International Student Mentors (ISM’s). International Student Mentors are experienced RA’s who will serve as a resource and campus connector to integrate International Students into the Geneseo community. In addition, residents in the hall form a Residence Council which provides several activities and services throughout the year. There is also a computer technician assigned to each residence hall to help students with technical problems. Each residence hall has a Service Desk, which is staffed every night. Students can borrow games, movies, supplies, or ask questions at the service desk.

What about safety in the residence halls?

Each building is secure and locked.  Students may only enter their residence halls with a valid student ID card. Each bedroom has its own lock and the doors to suites have combination or card access locks.  Geneseo has 24-hour campus security.  While emergencies in the residence halls are rare, you can also find more information about emergencies here.


Food Service

What dining facilities are on-campus?

Each group of residence halls has its own dining facility. There is Red Jacket Dining Hall (RJ) on South campus and Letchworth Dining Complex (“Letch”) on North campus which are open for lunch and dinner every day, and breakfast on the weekends. Mary Jemison Dining Hall (MJ) is a third dining hall that is open for breakfast and lunch during the weekdays. In addition there is a food truck called the “Chow Hound” that travels around campus, Starbucks and Fusion Market in the College Union, and Books ‘N Bytes in Milne Library. Snacks can be bought in the library and in the College Union, and there are many vending machines all over campus.

In what style are the meals served?

The two large cafeterias, Red Jacket and Letchworth Dining Complex, serve students in an “all-you-care-to-eat style” at dinner. This means that students pay a flat rate for a meal and eat as many food items as they want. They also have areas open for lunch that you are charged per item. Starbucks, Fusion Market, Mary Jemison, the Chow Hound, and Books ‘N Bytes charge you per item. You use your SUNY Geneseo student ID card to pay for your meals because the meal plan you purchase is encoded onto your ID card. Your meal plan functions as a declining balance—money is deducted from the meal plan total each time you purchase a meal or an item.  Your first semester, you will be automatically enrolled for the Gold Plan.  After your first semester, you can choose the meal plan that is best for you.

What is the food like?

Salads, sandwiches, grilled foods, vegetarian entrees, stir-fry, pizza, pasta, sushi, and American-style foods are just some of the choices that are available at the large dining halls-- Mary Jemison, Red Jacket, and Letchworth. Each of the smaller dining facilities has their own “specialty.”  Fusion Market offers a variety of tastes from around the world in a street food style, with their main foods being sandwiches, tacos, and rice or noodle bowls.  Books ‘N Bytes offers a variety of sandwiches, breakfast foods and snacks. If you have any dietary restrictions or you are missing something special from home, the chefs in our dining halls are very willing to talk with you and make your dining experience better.  Geneseo even has online ordering, if you're in a hurry!

See what is being served on campus today.


Social and Recreational Opportunities

What types of social activities are there?

There are concerts, service groups, social groups, study groups, theatrical plays, activities in the residence halls, off-campus parties, intramural sports and sporting events to name a few.  With over 200 clubs and organizations on campus, there is something here for every interest.  Clubs and organizations are always sponsoring activities in the Student Union or elsewhere on campus. View a complete list of our current student clubs and organizations.  

What facilities are offered at the gym?

The university provides free access to the running track, swimming pool, ice rink, racquetball courts, tennis courts, and gymnasium. It also has a Workout Center that is free to students living on-campus.  The Workout Center includes free weights, nautilus equipment, treadmills, bikes, stair climbers, aerobics, etc. 

Classes and Academic Life

What are classes like?

Typically, classes at Geneseo are small and are almost always taught by professors, not graduate students or teaching assistants. Students are expected to contribute their own opinions and perspectives in class and be challenged by the class. 

How do students dress for class?

Students typically dress casually for class at universities in the United States. Comfortable clothes appropriate for the weather ranging from sweat pants or leggings, hoodies, jeans, T-shirts, shorts. Hats and comfortable shoes are common. Students will dress more formally for in-class presentations, in skirts/dresses, dress pants, and blouses or button-down shirts.

What do I learn in class?

Theoretical principles are usually presented in class, followed by the student’s unique application of the material learned.  Typically, for one hour spent in class, at least three hours of study time outside of class is expected.

How do students behave in class?

Raising your hand and having the professor call your name allows you to ask a question or speak in class; calling out answers without being called on first is not considered appropriate in the classroom. Class participation is typically expected, and small group work is common. Snacks are generally allowed in class; soft drinks, coffee, or juice are typical. You should always ask your professor if a snack is permitted before bringing a snack to eat in class.

Is class attendance required?

As an international student, you must take at least 12 credit hours per semester and attend classes.  Failing to attend class could be considered a violation of your immigration status. 

Geneseo professors have a wide range of options for incorporating class attendance into their course activities, requirements, and grading procedures. Be certain to read each instructor's syllabus with care and ask questions during the first two or three days of class if you do not understand the instructor's standards.  Many professors include attendance and/or class absences as part of their grading. They cannot list it under “attendance,” but most include it under “participation.”

What is the typical size of a class?

The student to professor ratio is 19:1. Entry-level courses in your major or general education courses taken by all new students may range from 25-150 students (e.g. Introductory Biology has a maximum size of 96 students).  Intermediate and high level courses in your major are typically smaller in size with seminars of fewer than 20 students and small classes of about 35 students.

What tutoring services are available on-campus?

Almost every department on campus provides tutoring services for students. Such services include the Writing Learning Center, where students can get help with organizing and editing their papers; the Math Learning Center; and tutoring centers for science subjects such as Biology, Physics and Chemistry. In addition, every professor has “office hours” which are designated times when you can schedule an appointment to discuss specific topics that you need help understanding. Some courses may also have Teaching Assistants (T.A.’s) or Supplemental Instruction (S.I.). These are undergraduate students (typically upperclassmen) who have done well in the course previously. They are hired by the professor to hold review sessions and office hours to assist students who need some extra help with the course. You can learn more about academic resources on campus here.

Where else on campus can I study besides my residence hall room?

Students can find quiet-study areas at Milne Library, Fraser Hall, and the College Union. Each residence hall also provides study lounges where students can study quietly. Several academic buildings also have computer labs, study rooms or study areas for students to use.  


How do I access the internet on campus?

Wireless Internet access (Wifi) is included in your tuition and fees. It is available in all of the residence halls and academic buildings as well as outside most buildings. You may join the SUNY Geneseo wireless Internet network when you arrive by logging in with your Geneseo username and password. You may also use an Ethernet cord to connect your personal computer to the Internet connection in your residence hall room for a faster connection.

Are there computers available on campus?

All students are required to bring their own lap top. You may bring one from home or purchase a computer when you arrive to campus for orientation.  Each residence hall typically has at least one computer and printer for students to use. There are also computer labs and printers available in the library and many academic buildings for students to use.

Can I work in Geneseo?

On-campus jobs are available for F-1and J-1 students. You need a social security number and a letter of authorization for employment from the International Student & Scholar Services Office. Common on-campus jobs are in the dining halls, library, technical support, various academic departments, and tutoring centers.  F-1 and J-1 students may NOT work off-campus unless they qualify for practical training and receive employment authorization from the ISSS Office.

How do I obtain a Social Security Number?

The ISSS Office will assist you in applying for a social security number. However, US Government regulations require that you have an employment offer before you can apply for a Social Security Number. This process of obtaining a Social Security Number does not grant you citizenship or change your legal (visa) status.  A Social Security Number also does not allow you to accept any employment - only on-campus employment, or practical training that has been approved in advance by the ISSS Office.

How do I receive mail or ship items to Geneseo?

Upon arriving in Geneseo, you will be assigned a mailbox number for the mail room on campus. You will keep the mailbox number for all your years at SUNY Geneseo. Your family and friends may send you mail by addressing it to:

            [Your Name]

            [Your Mailbox #]

            10 MacVittie Circle

            Geneseo, NY 14454


You can start using this mailbox about 2 weeks before you arrive to campus for orientation. We do not recommend sending anything to this mailbox before then.

What transportation is available for my use?

There is a free shuttle bus that runs daily from the campus to the part of  Geneseo where Wal-Mart, the grocery stores, and a movie theater are located. In addition, a free bus goes to the city of Rochester to shopping malls and entertainment districts on the weekends. 

When you arrive your first semester, the ISSS Office will coordinate and arrange for someone to meet you upon your arrival and bring you to campus from the airport, train station, or bus station in Rochester.  At the end of the semester and before some vacations, the Student Association arranges a shuttle to the airport from campus.  

Do you have more questions that we haven't answered here?  Email us at!